Three brothers are involved in a bitter family dispute after one of them apparently gave away their dead sibling's £400,000 fortune to the poor.
Peter Ivory, 58, now faces jail after claiming to have gone around the country with a bag of cash, giving handouts to "hard-working poor and homeless people".
He made the extraordinary move on older brother Mick Ivory's orders, following his deathbed request not to let the rest of their family "get their hands on his hard-earned money," he says.
Mr Ivory's estate consisted of the proceeds from the sale of his home in Butter Hill, Wallington, Surrey, his beloved Lurcher dog Lady and a collection of rare Osmond Family memorabilia.
The assortment of Osmond-related items was accumulated by his wife, Pat, an avid fan, who died four years before him.
Mr Ivory, who lawyers say received the whole of the £414,000 fortune, told London's High Court that he passed the memorabilia on to the Osmonds fanclub and is looking after his late brother's dog himself.
But he has given away the £367,000 that was left after expenses, he says, taking £150,000 out of the bank and travelling the country with a bag of cash and distributing it to "a couple of hundred people," including strangers and the homeless.
Mr Ivory is now at war in court with his two surviving brothers, Alan and John, and his nephew Michael, who say Mick’s wealth should have been split equally between them all.
Judge Paul Teverson heard that when tube driver Mick died without making a will aged 61 in November 2018, Mr Ivory handled his affairs and arranged the sale of the couple's house.
Under normal intestacy laws, which apply when someone dies without making a will, Alan, John and Michael expected to share the money equally with Mr Ivory as Mick's surviving next of kin.
But Mr Ivory says Mick made him promise not to let the rest of his family “get their hands on his hard-earned money”.
Mr Ivory told the judge he has splashed much of his dead brother’s cash on helping out the poor and homeless, saying: “There’s no money left now”.
And he is determined that the rest of the family – including his two surviving brothers Alan and John – should inherit nothing, insisting Mick wanted it that way.
His defence to his nephew and brothers' claim to share of the estate is based on the legal concept of "donatio mortis causa" meaning a gift given by a sick person close to death.
He says his brother's deathbed orders meant he was gifted the estate before Mick died, leaving nothing in the pot to divide.
“Mick told me to keep it all and, if I couldn’t keep it, to give it away,” he told London’s High Court.
“His whole plan was to make sure they didn’t get it.”
He had withdrawn £150,000 in cash from the bank for this purpose, he added outside court, travelling from his home in Hendon as far afield as Cambridge with his wife Jackie to bail out beggars on the street.
He said: "There were a couple of hundred people. I put £150,000 in cash in a bag. It doesn’t take long to give it away."
His wife Jackie said outside court that they also helped a friend go on holiday and gave money to a school.
She said: “Peter took out £150,000 in cash and gave the money away over the course of one month, including to homeless people with their dogs in Cambridge.
"There are a lot of homeless people in Cambridge he was literally giving £50 notes to. There are three or four homeless people around where we live as well and he gave them a lot.
"He gave some to dog charities, as Mick and Pat loved dogs as they had no children."
When Mr Ivory’s siblings began challenging him about Mick’s estate, he wrote back to his brother, Alan, in June last year, explaining Mick’s alleged wishes, the court heard.
He wrote that when Mick was dying he made him promise three things: to care for his beloved dog, Lady, to ensure Pat's treasured collection of Osmond memorabilia went to a good home, and to make sure Alan did not receive a penny of his fortune.
He told Alan in the letter that Mick "could not bear the thought" of Alan's wife having access to the money he was leaving.
In the letter, he added: “So instead I have given it to hard-working poor and homeless people, so there is no money left and you must do what you think is morally right like I have done by respecting his wishes."
“They want the money and they think I want it, but I don’t give a monkey’s about the money,” Mr Ivory told the court.
But Simon Douglas – representing Alan, John and Michael – said Mr Ivory had presented no evidence about Mick’s alleged dying wishes.
“Nor is there any evidence that Peter has complied with his wishes other than his assertion in his witness statement that he has given the money away," he said.
“If he has given it away to homeless and hard-working people, he should be in a position to give specific names of people he gave the money to, and provide receipts.
“He has done neither, all we have is a single item stating: ‘I gave the money away’.”
Mr Ivory has admitted receiving £414,000 worth of assets from Mick’s estate, said the barrister.
After a brief hearing, Judge Teverson adjourned the case, ordering that Mr Ivory give a full account of the money he has distributed.
The judge attached a “penal notice” to his order, meaning Mr Ivory could face a jail term if he fails to obey it.
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